1 Corinthians 12:1-11
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he describes the spiritual gifts of the members of the new church and cautions them regarding their past behaviors, being led astray by false idols. Then he names the many varieties of “gift” from God that are given by the same “Spirit” and are inspired by
After reading this passage the first thing that came to my mind was the familiar Hymn, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, We pray that all unity may one day be restored…”
Paul tells us that each one of us has “the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” It is up to us to use our gifts of “wisdom, knowledge, healing, faith working of miracles, prophecy, tongues or the interpretation of tongues” for the betterment of all, for the same Spirit inspires them.
Certainly we see this played out in our congregation at West Concord Union Church as each member and friend of the church gives their own unique “gift” of themselves to the wider community for the benefit of the entire church. However, when we look more globally, at our politicians and the international conflicts between governments and religions it is more challenging to see where individual gifts might be united in one Spirit.
However, if we do as the Jason Upton suggests in his hymn, and pledge that “we will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand … we will work side by side and guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride,” then it might be possible to make progress towards finding the common ground between us without focusing on what divides us. I think that both Paul and the writer of the hymn are calling us to do just that! We do not need to agree on all matters, but we must strive together for the betterment of all and remember that we are “one in the Spirit” and to do as Jesus taught us: above all else to love one another. I think that means all people of the earth and not just those that are similar to us. “All praise to the Spirit who makes us all one. Yes, they will know we are Christians by our love!”
Dear Lord, help all peoples of our world to use the gifts you have given us to find the common ground on which to build peace, unity and the dignity of all people. Remind us that your love and your Spirit resides in each of us. Amen.